Leaving it at that.
More then eight years me and C (who was just two) were knocking on doors for Obama to get out the vote. We were at 54th and Keystone in Indianapolis, a part of town with five abandoned houses or empty lots for every one lived-in house.
The campaign spit out a list of houses to visit that you could print out, and we were going from house to house. Really doing more walking then talking truth be told. Mid-morning some Saturday in October. Tonya at home with W. Chilly, but bright and sunny. I remember thinking how beautiful an empty lot looked, with its autumn golden wild grass bending in the wind.
At one small house, bars on the windows and flanked by empty lots, an older lady opened the door and invited us in. She wore big turtleshell glasses that barely stayed on her face. Her house smelled strange, old, but somehow sweet, like jello. Things were a bit of a train wreck inside: piles of newspapers, boxes on boxes, but golden bright light shining in through slits in darkening curtains.
She invited us to sit on the couch, clearing out newspapers from the cushions, and immediately set to making us tea. Slowly. Once she got the tea started, she searched her empty cupboards for something for C to eat and pulled out some apple sauce. She washed a spoon in the sink and then brought over the spoon and apple sauce for C.
She was so proud to see a black man running for president, and so proud to see white people going door-to-door on his behalf. She was crying a bit, and reached for a tissue from beside the couch.
Did she need a ride to vote?
“Oh I will vote, don’t you worry about me. If I live long enough,” she laughed.
The tea tasted bad, stale, and C. didn’t eat all the apple sauce but we took it with us. It was expired.
Eight years later, as I watched Barack Obama give his last address as President tonight, I wondered if that wonderful lady is still alive and what she thinks about Trump. I’d hate to presume, but she was so proud that for me to even frame the election of Trump as any kind of memorandum on President Obama’s tenure does her a huge disservice.
I choose instead to see the America that voted Obama in, a campaign that compelled a middle class stay-at-home white dude to take his kid knocking on doors for votes, and to see the last eight years as a time when my daughters grew up seeing a smart, capable, articulate, scandal-free person serve at the pleasure of the American people as president, and just leave it at that, as what it is.